Lewis Hamilton notches up third home win at British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has won the British Grand Prix for the third time following a fortuitous pit-stop decision that saw him swap to intermediate tyres at just the right time.

Hamilton was joined on the podium by team-mate Nico Rosberg while Sebastian Vettel also benefited from a well timed pit-stop to join the Mercedes duo on the podium once again.

It was a race of mixed conditions – largely dry until a couple of rain showers towards the end. Off the line the Mercedes duo were caught out by both Williams drivers, who had locked out the second row of the grid after Hamilton secured pole position by just a tenth from his team-mate. Felipe Massa took the race lead off the line while Valtteri Bottas slotted into second before running too wide and opening the door for Hamilton to get back ahead. The battle at the front was called off following the deployment of the safety car at the end of the first lap.

The safety car was brought out due to an incident which saw both Lotus drivers and Jenson Button retire. Daniel Ricciardo tagged Romain Grosjean, sending the Lotus driver into his team-mate Pastor Maldonado. As Fernando Alonso attempted to avoid the pair he collected his own team-mate, resulting in Button retiring from the race. The incident was investigated after the race but no further action was taken. Ricciardo later retired from the race due to an engine problem while Alonso went on to score his first point of the season. The safety car returned to the pits at the end of lap three and racing resumed. Hamilton attempted to pass Massa but locked up and gave Bottas the opportunity to get back ahead.

Massa and Bottas were asked not to fight each other but Bottas believed he had the speed to pull away from the chasing Mercedes duo. Hamilton’s pit stop strategy allowed him to leap frog Massa and take the lead of the race. There was a brief period under Virtual Safety Car conditions to allow marshals to retrieve Carlos Sainz’s stricken Toro Rosso.  Light rain started to fall around lap 36 of the race and some drivers – including Kimi Raikkonen, Marcus Ericsson, and Alonso – chose to go straight onto the intermediate tyres. The conditions proved not to warrant the change and Ericsson was unfortunate to pit again for slicks when heavier rain started to fall. In the changeable conditions Rosberg launched a charge on team-mate, slashing the gap. Hamilton reported he had no grip and pitted for intermediate tyres, a decision which proved to pay off when the rain got heavier. Vettel also pitted and went from sixth to third.

There were six retirements from the race in total along with Felipe Nasr who failed to make the start due to a gearbox failure on his out-lap to the grid. Sainz, Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Maldonado, Grosjean, and Button were the other retirements from the race. At the front the top three were followed by the Williams duo, perhaps ruing a lost opportunity to fight for the win. Daniil Kvyat was sixth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in seventh, Raikkonen eighth, Sergio Perez ninth and Alonso tenth. Ericsson, Roberto Merhi, and Will Stevens also finished the race, although the latter lost his front wing after clipping the barrier but returned to the pits and continued.

Following the cancellation of the German Grand Prix the next action will take place in three weeks time in Hungary.

2015: British GP Preview

It’s the British Grand Prix this weekend and, with seven of the ten teams on the grid based in the UK, it is one of the biggest events on the Formula One calendar. The Force India team are based in Silverstone while it is also the home race for Jenson Button, Will Stevens and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Last time out Nico Rosberg won, cutting the gap to Hamilton in the drivers championship to just 10 points. Felipe Massa finished in third for Williams in a repeat of their podium finish there last year in Austria.

The British Grand Prix held at Silverstone is full throttle for over 60% of the lap and it is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. The track requires medium to high downforce and features a mixture of high and low speed corners. Pirelli are bringing the medium and hard tyres for the weekend.

Circuit: Silverstone
Number of Laps: 52
Circuit Length: 5.891km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: 1:33.401 Mark Webber (2013)
Previous British Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (15 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Hard

Last year’s race was won by Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo also on the podium. There was a big accident on the first lap as Kimi Raikkonen spun across the track and collected Felipe Massa which resulted in a red flag as the barriers needed repairing. Raikkonen had a first lap accident in Austria, this time collecting Fernando Alonso, bringing an end to both of their races. At a time when his future in the sport is under intense scrutiny, Raikkonen will be hoping to have a better weekend this time out. Rosberg retired from last year’s race with a gearbox issue.

Button was another retirement from the Austrian Grand Prix, as McLaren brought his car in as a precaution. He will be hoping for a better showing for McLaren at his home race. Stevens will be making his first home appearance for Manor in an F1 race.

2015: Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying

A drying track greeted drivers for the start of qualifying after heavy rain fell in FP3, which was topped by Sebastian Vettel. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso went into qualifying knowing they would both take 25 place grid penalties (for engine and gearbox changes); while Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat would both be taking ten places.

Q1

Drivers went out on intermediate tyres for the start of qualifying as a dry line started to form on the circuit. After a few drivers discovered the track limits, Will Stevens ended up in the gravel but was able to get the car out of it again. Felipe Nasr was the first driver to go out on the slick tyres, using the supersoft with about 11 minutes of the session remaining. Not long after that Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas went out on soft tyres. Eventually the rest of the field followed suit although they opted for soft tyre rather than the supersoft compound. The times continued to drop as the track rubbered in and got faster and faster. Kimi Raikkonen dropped out in 18th, joined in the bottom five by Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi, Jenson Button, and Sergio Perez.

  1. Nico Rosberg 1:10.976
  2. Carlos Sainz 1:11.158
  3. Sebastian Vettel 1:11.184
  4. Max Verstappen 1:11.307
  5. Nico Hulkenberg 1:11.319
  6. Pastor Maldonado 1:11.661
  7. Romain Grosjean 1:11.821
  8. Felipe Massa 1:11.830
  9. Valtteri Bottas 1:11.894
  10. Daniel Ricciardo 1:11.973
  11. Felipe Nasr 1:12.001
  12. Daniil Kvyat 1:12.092
  13. Lewis Hamilton 1:12.218
  14. Marcus Ericsson 1:12.388
  15. Fernando Alonso 1:12.508
  16. Sergio Perez 1:12.522
  17. Jenson Button 1:12.632
  18. Kimi Raikkonen 1:12.867
  19. Roberto Merhi 1:14.071
  20. Will Stevens 1:15.368

Q2

Both Red Bulls were first out on track, joined by Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso. As was the case in Q1, the times got faster as the track improved. With five minutes of the session remaining, just three drivers were still on track while the rest remained in the garage. Traffic had proved to be an issue in Q1 on such a short track, as drivers fought for a prime position to get their laps in. Daniel Ricciardo had a brief excursion off track across the gravel while he was down in 14th place. Romain Grosjean also ran wide. Going out at the end of Q2 were Pastor Maldonado, Marcus Ericsson, Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso.

  1. Nico Rosberg 1:08.634
  2. Lewis Hamilton 1:09.062
  3. Sebastian Vettel 1:09.392
  4. Valtteri Bottas 1:09.598
  5. Nico Hulkenberg 1:09.604
  6. Max Verstappen 1:09.631
  7. Felipe Nasr 1:09.652
  8. Felipe Massa 1:09.719
  9. Romain Grosjean 1:09.920
  10. Daniil Kvyat 1:10.187
  11. Pastor Maldonado 1:10.374
  12. Marcus Ericsson 1:10.426
  13. Carlos Sainz 1:10.465
  14. Daniel Ricciardo 1:10.482
  15. Fernando Alonso 1:10.736

Q3

Going into the pole position shoot out were Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Max Verstappen, Felipe Nasr, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, and Daniil Kvyat. Bottas and Nasr were the first drivers out on track, quickly followed by Massa and Rosberg. Grosjean remained in the garage as did Verstappen. It was Hamilton who took provisional pole by exactly two tenths of a second over his team-mate. Hamilton spun at Turn 1, bringing an end to his pole position run, while Rosberg had his own problems later in the lap after going faster in the first two sectors.

  1. Lewis Hamilton 1:08.455
  2. Nico Rosberg 1:08.655
  3. Sebastian Vettel 1:08.810
  4. Felipe Massa 1:09.192
  5. Nico Hulkenberg 1:09.278
  6. Valtteri Bottas 1:09.319
  7. Max Verstappen 1:09.612
  8. Daniil Kvyat 1:09.694
  9. Felipe Nasr 1:09.713
  10. Romain Grosjean No Time Set

Sebastian Vettel edges Lewis Hamilton in Austrian FP3

It started to rain in the third and final practice session ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg was fastest in the first practice session before Sebastian Vettel overcame mechanical issues to go fastest in free practice two.  It was the Ferrari driver who remained at the top for Saturday morning’s practice although just 17 thousandths of a second clear of Lewis Hamilton.

Most of the fastest times were set in the first half of the session due to the rain that came in the second half. The rain started to fall heavily with about 25 minutes remaining. Kimi Raikkonen ran through the gravel at Turn 6 while Rosberg came off at Turn 2. Some drivers went out on the intermediate tyre but Nico Hulkenberg reported there was no grip at all as he slid off the track at Turn 4. Carlos Sainz and Vettel both also had offs at the track condition got worse.

Sergio Perez suffered a right front puncture during the session while Marcus Ericsson reported a lack of energy on the pit straight. Romain Grosjean encountered a gearbox issue during the session while Fernando Alonso compounded McLaren’s difficult weekend so far by coming to a halt on the pit straight. Both McLarens will take 25 place grid penalties for various changes, including a full engine change for Jenson Button. Alonso’s stop brought out a red flag as the rain started to fall.

Free practice 3 results:

  1. Sebastian Vettel – 1:09.994 – 16 laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 1:10.011 – 16 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:10.177 – 12 laps
  4. Sergio Perez – 1:10.221 – 14 laps
  5. Nico Rosberg – 1:10.332 – 23 laps
  6. Felipe Massa – 1:10.408 – 18 laps
  7. Valtteri Bottas – 1:10.417 – 14 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – 1:10.436 – 23 laps
  9. Pastor Maldonado – 1:10.576 – 12 laps
  10. Romain Grosjean – 1:10.863 – 8 laps
  11. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:11.009 – 14 laps
  12. Marcus Ericsson – 1:11.058 – 22 laps
  13. Daniil Kvyat – 1:11.139 – 14 laps
  14. Fernando Alonso – 1:11.168 – 13 laps
  15. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:11.819 – 10 laps
  16. Felipe Nasr – 1:11.906 – 9 laps
  17. Jenson Button – 1:12.616 – 16 laps
  18. Will Stevens – 1:13.328 – 14 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:13.960 – 8 laps

Sebastian Vettel overcomes problems to go fastest in Austrian FP2

After completing just four laps in the first practice session – which was topped by Nico Rosberg – Sebastian Vettel came back to top the times in FP2.

A number of drivers instantly took to the track for installation laps while Vettel completed the first flying lap. Kimi Raikkonen instantly went faster than his team-mate but then locked up his tyres into Turn 1. Romain Grosjean was back in the car after sitting out FP1  to allow test and reserve driver Jolyon Palmer some time in the car.

Fernando Alonso was running McLaren’s new shorter nose while Jenson Button continued with the old specification. Following issues in FP1, Alonso completed 17 laps. He was forced to stop as a precaution in the second practice session after Button’s car suffered an ignition plug problem. As a result McLaren missed the opportunity to complete option tyre runs.  Many drivers complained about tyres and the handling of their cars as they progressed through the session.

Kimi Rakkonen was the first driver to put the super soft tyres on but Rosberg instantly beat his time on the option tyre run. Then Vettel went fastest by just hundredths of a second. A yellow flag was brought out at Turn 3 with twenty minutes of the session remaining. It was due to Roberto Merhi taking a trip across the gravel, something which then happened to Pastor Maldonado as well.

Free Practice Two results:

  1. Sebastian Vettel – 1:09.600 – 28 laps
  2. Nico Rosberg – 1:09.611 – 50 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:09.860 – 41 laps
  4. Pastor Maldonado – 1:09.914 – 44 laps
  5. Lewis Hamilton – 1:10.137 – 49 laps
  6. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:10.160 – 49 laps
  7. Romain Grosjean – 1:10.267 – 38 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – 1:10.356 – 48 laps
  9. Felipe Nasr – 1:10.495 – 39 laps
  10. Sergio Perez – 1:10.585 – 46 laps
  11. Carlos Sainz – 1:10.631 – 50 laps
  12. Daniil Kvyat – 1:10.686 – 48 laps
  13. Marcus Ericsson – 1:10.744 – 40 laps
  14. Valtteri Bottas – 1:10.746 – 34 laps
  15. Felipe Massa – 1:11.011 – 42 laps
  16. Fernando Alonso – 1:11.517 – 17 laps
  17. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:11.676 – 38 laps
  18. Jenson Button – 1:11.919 – 17 laps
  19. Will Stevens – 1:12.522 – 34 laps
  20. Roberto Merhi – 1:13.094 – 34 laps

Nico Rosberg leads the way in Austrian FP1

Nico Rosberg topped the times in the first free practice session for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Last year’s race winner finished three tenths clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton while Kimi Raikkonen was sixth tenths off the lead Mercedes in third.

After the installation runs and laps, Rosberg led the times on the extra tyre compound with a 1:11.389. Sebastian Vettel came to a stop on track after just four laps, revealing to the team that he had “lost drive”. In the pit-lane there was drama as Felipe Massa narrowly avoided hitting Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene as he crossed to the pit wall. 2014 pole sitter Massa went on to finish the session in ninth place while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth.

Jolyon Palmer was in action for Lotus while Romain Grosjean watched the action from the pit wall. He ended the session in 14th just hundredths of a second shy of team-mate Pastor Maldonado. Max Verstappen struggled with the handling of his car throughout the session while Jenson Button struggled with tyre temperature. Button’s team-mate Fernando Alonso had issues of his own early on when he was forced to coast back to the pit-lane after an electrical harness connection issue following his installation lap. Despite what the team described as a “minor gearbox issue” he was able to get back on track but just completed 10 laps.

Free Practice 1 results:

  1. Nico Rosberg – 1:10.401 – 36 laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 1:10.709 – 28 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:11.028 – 22 laps
  4. Valtteri Bottas – 1:11.452 – 26 laps
  5. Felipe Nasr – 1:11.633 – 28 laps
  6. Danil Kvyat – 1:11.642 – 31 laps
  7. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:11.724 – 29 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – 1:11.825 – 38 laps
  9. Felipe Massa – 1:11.890 – 29 laps
  10. Sergio Perez – 1:11.905 – 37 laps
  11. Carlos Sainz – 1:11.948 – 32 laps
  12. Pastor Maldonado – 1:12.004 – 34 laps
  13. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:12.031 – 36 laps
  14. Jolyon Palmer – 1:12.050 – 27 laps
  15. Marcus Ericsson – 1:12.159 – 30 laps
  16. Jenson Button – 1:12.920 – 30 laps
  17. Fernando Alonso – 1:13.272 – 10 laps
  18. Will Stevens – 1:13.937 – 29 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:15.459 – 11 laps
  20. Sebastian Vettel – 1:15.684 – 4 laps

2015: Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Following a brief interlude in North America for the Canadian Grand Prix, Formula One returns to Europe for the Austrian Grand Prix. The race returned to the calendar in 2014 for the first time in 11 years and was won by Nico Rosberg. The event marked the first and only time in 2014 that someone from a team other than Mercedes secured pole position. Felipe Massa led an all Williams front row while it was team-mate Valtteri Bottas who finished on the podium behind Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes once again come into the Austrian Grand Prix as the team to beat. Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers championship while Mercedes lead Ferrari in the constructors. Hamilton won last time out in Canada, leading yet another Mercedes 1-2, with Bottas in third.

Circuit: Red Bull Ring
Number of Laps: 71
Circuit Length: 4.326km
Number of Corners: 9
Lap Record: 1:08.337 Michael Schumacher (2003)
Previous Australian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 1
Most Successful Team: McLaren (6 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft

The Red Bull Ring is made up of fast straights joined by a mix of slow and medium speed corners. Teams come into this weekend with data from last year, in contrast to last year’s race when they did not know what to expect. It is another power track, which requires good aerodynamics and traction. The track is considered medium-downforce due to the mix of corners, despite there being few of them. Last year drivers saw qualifying times deleted for exceeding track limits so they will have to be careful to keep all four wheels on the track.

Last year only one of the four Red Bull affiliated cars made the finish with Sebastian Vettel and the Toro Rosso duo of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat retiring. Only Daniel Ricciardo saw the chequered flag and he finished eighth. They will be hoping to have a better showing at their home track this year, despite the difficulties they have endured so far this season. Another team struggling are McLaren-Honda who, following the highs of their first points of the season in Monaco, suffered the disappointment of a double retirement in Canada. Kimi Raikkonen put in a strong showing in Canada to finish fourth while team-mate Vettel fought through from the back of the grid to finish in fifth. Massa was another driver who had to come from the back of the grid and he ended up in sixth. Williams are bringing a significant upgrade to their car this weekend which they hope will help them close the gap to Ferrari.